Belarus could adopt a role of a bridge linking the European Union and the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said on Friday.
MINSK (Sputnik) — German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel, who arrived in Minsk with a visit, told reporters on Friday that Belarus could become a bridge between the EU and the EAEU.
“There is no need to decide in favor of one or another union, perhaps, Belarus is destined to become a bridge between these regions,” he said.
Following meetings with Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko and his Belarusian counterpart Vladimir Makei earlier in the day, Gabriel said he was glad that Berlin and Minsk managed to continue developing cooperation after a period of disagreements in the areas of human rights, democracy, civil liberties as well as EU sanctions against Belarus.
Makei said following the meeting that the aspiration of Belarus to develop closer relations with the European Union posed no risks for Russia.
“What risks could there be?… We want to have good relations both with the East and West, bearing in mind that we are located between the two geopolitical players. Russia is our strategic ally… We did not have a goal to severe ties with Russia. On the contrary, we have always wanted to develop and strengthen them,” Makei told reporters when asked about possible risks of Minsk’s aspiration to develop closer relations with Brussels.
In February, the European Council prolonged sanctions against Belarus for a year, with the measures including an arms embargo, an asset freeze and a travel ban against several people. The European Union’ss restrictive measures against Minsk were first introduced in 2004.